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‘Criticism of court allowed’

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Johannesburg - Former Constitutional Court judge Zac Yacoob has said everybody has the right to review and criticise the Constitutional Court's work, The Sunday Independent reports.

“The only (question) is what to do with it, and if the review leads to amending the Constitution,” Yacoob told the newspaper.

The former judge, who took leave of his position this week after 15 years on the bench, encouraged debates on the powers to amend the Constitution.

He said this was important for it to remain “living, flexible (and) relevant”.

Should the ANC, or any party, use a two-thirds majority to amend the Constitution, the Constitutional Court would still be the final adjudicator of whether the changes were in line with the guiding principles enshrined in it, Yacoob said.

“If the government and Parliament amended the Constitution with the required majority and without offending the principles of the Constitution, as far as I am concerned it's no trouble,” he was quoted as saying.

Yacoob said the discussions around the separation of powers arose when the executive felt the judiciary had “overstepped its boundaries”.

“When government gets upset over a judgment of the court, well, I find it quite understandable, but it's wrong.

“They fall back on (the argument of) the separation of powers when they feel the pinch,” he said.

“(But) government is enjoined by the Constitution to obey court orders. They can criticise, but when it is unjustified, people like me will speak out”. - Sapa


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